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    50 Comments     Monday, May 17th, 2010

    The Mis-Education of The Black Athlete

    Lizz Robbins breaks down the plight of the black athlete.

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    It’s that time of the year again, college graduation season. This is the time after four long years (five for some, shout out to the Super Seniors), when students are getting prepared to walk across the stage and make their family proud. When it comes to a large percentage of black athletes this day will never happen. They have been advised to make that jump from college to the pros early; due to “how high” they can go in the draft, and how much money they can make. A lot of these students take the jump, and unfortunately a lot has to do with their living situation.

    Statistics from predominately white schools have reported close to 70% of white athletes graduate, compared to the 20% of black athletes who achieve commencement. It seems Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) are left off this list where the majority of their athletes do graduate. When you have a Black athlete who is interested in pursuing a degree, a lot of times he is discouraged from staying his senior year. So they take the money and leave. There are some who decide to finish school. I’m sure a lot of us remember Vince Carter, then with the Toronto Raptors, going to his graduation and being ridiculed for it because he had a playoff game. Playoffs? Playoffs? True, the Raptors lost the game, but isn’t basketball a team sport? Maybe, he had an off game (a la LeBron…*ducks from Nikes being thrown by Cleveland Cavaliers Fans*).

    Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recently suggested that in order to earn an NBA paycheck the required age must be 21. If they aren’t educated about business, etc., will it really help? You see the stories of the bankrupt athlete, but is it their age to blame? Is it their agents? Is it their lack of education? Or is it their upbringing? I think it could be slightly all of the above, mixed in with the strong attraction of fame. What I always see is that it’s always focused on the black athlete, when you also have white athletes who leave school early, mismanage money and have children out of wedlock. So how about we put the focus on the broader picture? The bottom line is it’s about the money, as long as there’s plenty to be made, education will fall in the background. I say this about not only the black athletes, but about any athlete. Yes you have the talent, yes you have the money, but don’t let society “play” you for a dummy (I did not mean to rhyme LOL). Get that paper…not just the green.

    “A well-informed mind is the best security against the contagion of folly and of vice. The vacant mind is ever on the watch for relief, and ready to plunge into error, to escape from the languor of idleness.” -Ann Radcliffe

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    This entry was posted on Monday, May 17th, 2010 at 11:21 am and is filed under Columnists, Robbins Nest. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

    50 Responses to “The Mis-Education of The Black Athlete”

    05.17.10 at 12:46 pm

    James W Johnson says:
    Your right they don’t want the black athlete to get an education. Look at FSU player Myron Rolle was ridiculed for leaving his team to go for the Rhodes Scholar.

    05.17.10 at 1:27 pm

    ZULU the Teacher says:
    Well said, For the most part most African Africans have been duked into thinking money is more important than education. As a former Student-athlete at a D1 school, I can tell you all the system is made for you to put your sport first and education last! (not even second)

    05.17.10 at 1:29 pm

    Kenny says:
    The above poster makes a good point. There were some NFL teams who were rumored to take Rolle off their board, because they questioned his commitment to football. Absolutely ridiculous. It’s totally possible to do both; to earn your degree and then get your money, as Emeka Okafor, CJ Spiller, DJ Augustin, and more have demonstrated. I think it takes determination from the athlete, more than anything. Coaches are only gonna do so much to encourage them to get a degree, as are faculty and staff. The graduation rates in college football certainly should be higher, since they have to wait three years anyway. It’s a complicated and detailed slope, that’s for sure.

    05.17.10 at 9:37 pm

    ncrediful says:
    very good piece. many athletes aren’t prepared for life after sports. many have access to “things” but ignore access to “knowledge”.

    05.18.10 at 4:17 pm

    ListenToLeon says:
    Nice. I love the quote at the end!

    05.24.10 at 3:51 pm

    D Knight says:
    Well done!

    05.24.10 at 5:05 pm

    Angles says:
    Great topic to touch on, the gift and the curse. Alot of pro’s go through the situation but most leave earlier to get the bread but can’t slice it right to last there life time. But when didn’t have money then you have millions its hard for some people to get past that point. Education is key but at what time in there life will that fact be realized is the question. Good topic keep them coming.

    05.24.10 at 5:49 pm

    Roger James says:
    We also have to keep in mind that within the black community as much as we put such importance on the black athlete we can’t be surprised that so few graduate from college since its not something that is really supported and embrace like it should. Some of these ballplayers were miserable in school yet we expect them to speak to kids about school and the importance of it because they could dunk, run with a football or swing a bat. We can’t have it both ways.

    05.26.10 at 12:53 am

    j says:
    Somebody once told me “IF YOUR DUMB WHEN U ENROLL IN COLLEGE,

    05.26.10 at 12:55 am

    J says:
    A wise man once said “IF UR DUMB WHEN U ENROLL IN COLLEGE, U WILL BE DUMB WHEN U GRADUATE”

    06.2.10 at 5:46 pm

    EJ says:
    I recently read First Round Lottery Pick by Franklin White that discussed many of these issues. The book is about a player going pro giving up his college career. 70% to 20% difference of graduates is stunning especially after there is such a small percentage of athletes who actually do make the teams.

    10.18.10 at 8:25 pm

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    11.7.10 at 6:55 pm

    karl anglin says:
    Jack Olsen wrote about this in Sports
    Illustrated back in 1968. Sadly, looks
    like things have not changed very much.

    11.12.10 at 11:18 pm

    bless says:
    a fool and his money is one big party this story will go on forever

    12.4.10 at 2:12 am

    Eric says:
    I a agree that these athletes need to take advantage of a free education. But just having a degree would not solve the problems listed in the article. There are alot of PHD’s, MBA, and people with other college degrees who are out of work. A million dollars is much more important than a degree. If you manage it right

    05.20.11 at 9:44 am

    From Tokyo says:
    ^ I disagree, as money is only temporary but a degree never loses its value, if you manage it right. If your degree isn’t working in one place – city OR country – take it where it can have greater value. Speaking from experience.

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    06.10.12 at 11:35 am

    nyblackatheist says:
    How about college athletes getting paid for making these white colleges rich. FREETHOUGHTHIPHOP.COM

    07.26.12 at 8:59 pm

    halfmiler says:
    love the article, it hit the issue right on the nose, it’s a little sad to see this number growing, the pressure to make this money so fast and so soon, the opportunity might not come up again, its a hard choice, at least they should go back, education is the zenith of things to obtain…

    08.28.12 at 11:13 am

    tjocean says:
    every althete dream of being the bigget name but usually end up getting traded from team to team they usually get celeb roles and don’t get paid as much as they initially think they may have college degrees but they have no formal training the fact that most people think the nba gives millons too eveyone is absurd they have only few that achieve that level of success the main thing is that most teams bearly make even at the end of every season please becarful in your dreams if you dont make where will you land big time one1

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